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2012 Olympic Basketball Qualifying Quarter-Finals: Kirilenko and Russia Stomp Angola

David Blatt's team easily rolls over Angola, and is on track to an Olympics spot.
David Blatt's team easily rolls over Angola, and is on track to an Olympics spot.

Russia 80, Angola 65

It seems to me that if any game is scheduled in the morning, Angola will come out still asleep. Russia thoroughly dominated this game from start to finish, rebounding the ball and punishing the Angolans inside. They also managed to draw lots of fouls, putting their team constantly on the line and keeping Angolan star Olimpio Cipriano out of the game. On Angola's end, they pretty much missed every free throw they could possibly miss, shooting only 63% and making me think the ball was magnetized to the back of the rim.

Offensively, Angola really failed to take advantage of the shooting that served them so well against Macedonia. They kept going into the post and getting the ball stripped or blocked, which is clearly reflected in Mingas' shooting percentage. Honestly, Angola's basketball team is in a bit of disarray, showing up late to the shootaround against New Zealand, and having Cipriano not play during last year's Afrobasket because of a disagreement with the coach.

But still, Angola played with a lot of heart, and they never gave up, even when they were down by 20 or more late in the fourth. They never play dirty, and always shake their opponent's hand. We haven't heard the last of them in the game of international basketball, and I firmly believe the nation will challenge the world's elite one day.

On Russia's side of things, they played their game, and they did it well. The performance wasn't exactly flawless, as they shot poorly from the three point line, but their zone defense and ability to collapse in the lane really limited Angola's ability to score. They also ran their usual pick and roll game, which allowed them to get it to the basket quite easily and gave them a string of assists.

Russia had a sizable lead early in the game, but really poured on the points late in the second quarter, grabbing a 17 point lead at the half. After that point, they basically cruised to victory. Andrei Kirilenko did his usual filling of the stat sheet with 15 Points, 5 Rebounds, 5 Assists, and 3 Steals. Alexander Kaun added 17, and Vitaliy Fridzon hit an impressive number of shots in garbage time. For Angola, Eduardo Mingas led with 20 points, and Carlos Morais added and efficient 14.

With the win, Russia advances to the Semi-Finals and will take on the winner of Nigeria-Greece for a spot in the 2012 Olympics. Angola goes home with the loss, with their next action coming in next year's Afrobasket, to be hosted in Cote d'Ivoire.